Chair re-upholstering – I did it!

So, this summer I turned my room inside out and did some super later spring cleaning.  I got a new white bookcase, dresser and side table.  It was an Ikea nightmare to put together.. but that’s another story.  I had owned this chair for as long as I can remember, but it didn’t fit with the rest of the room.  Not that it did before, but you know how you get used to a piece of furniture and even though it’s become super janky you don’t really think about it or realize you need to get rid of it?  That was me and this chair.


I’m pretty sure it’s been lugged from move to move since at least the late 80’s, and passed on to me from my parents.  I wish I had taken a better “before” picture and apologies for the icky craiglist-ish phone pics, but suffice it to say that the wood was scratched up and the seat padding compressed to nearly flat.  The cushion fabric used to be a red, fuzzy material, but the fuzz was nearly rubbed off and the color totally faded.  It was a sorry looking thing, but I didn’t want to throw it away.  I really needed a chair in my room and didn’t have space for anything bulky, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at upholstering — something I’ve always wanted to try.  I pulled up a good how-to video, enlisted the help of my friend, J, and headed out to pick up the necessary supplies.

Here’s what I used:

From Howcast:  How To Reupholster a Drop-in Chair

Painting supplies:  fine grit sandpaper, paint brush, paint.


We took the project out into the backyard and I work on repainting the chair while my friend reupholstered the seat cushion.  You know that chair was old when we took it apart the old foam disintegrated upon contact.  J was totally grossed out.  haha.  Ew.  The reupholstering was surprisingly simple, though it took J some effort to get the old staples out.  Plus we got a stripe patterned fabric so we had to make sure it was straight.  There’s no need to cut the foam perfectly as the rough edges all get smoothed out when you tighten and staple the fabric over it.

The sanding was time and labor intensive, but luckily I only had the old clear coat to sand off.  My aim here was just to get some texture for the new paint to grab on to.  I used two coats of paint and let it dry overnight.  Reassembled and, ta-da!, here’s the finished project!

Tip:  When painting, don’t use too much paint because it will inevitably drip.  Don’t worry about getting all done in one coat, though one coat would be perfect for a distressed look.

Lesson learned:  So, I got paint + primer because the guy at Home Depot said it would be fine for painting furniture and I wouldn’t need a top coat, but I can already tell the paint on the chair will chip/scrape off fairly easily.  Luckily I really only use it as a catch-all for clothes, bags, etc.  Next time I’ll try the latex paint then top coat route.

Umm... yea...



BTW… remember how I said earlier that I had turned my room  inside out re-organizing and such?  I was wondering where my dog was hiding during this time and this is where I was surprised to find her.  hahah.


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